Why Some Countries Find It Hard to Move Away From Fossil Fuels

Ribboned shovel in hand, Prime Minister Keith Rowley joined a ceremonial groundbreaking last month to celebrate Trinidad and Tobago’s first large solar farm project expected to generate power for 42,000 homes.

But if anyone thought the project symbolized the twilight of the island nation’s long embrace of fossil fuels, Mr. Rowley set them straight.

“We will continue to extract the hydrocarbons available to us as long as there is an international market,” Mr. Rowley said, as BP and Shell executives looked on. “If we are going to sell the last barrel of oil or the last molecule of gas, so be it.”

Trinidad and Tobago is known for its white sandy beaches, mountainous rainforests and steel pan drums. But its economy depends on oil and natural gas, not tourism.

It is one of the largest producers of fossil fuels in the Western Hemisphere, and more than a century of drilling has left its mark. The major highways on the main island are clogged by traffic and lined with industrial…

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This article was written by Clifford Krauss and originally published on www.nytimes.com